Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Count Your Blessings

Sometimes I’m so caught up in the day-to-day bustle of life that I forget how very blessed I am. The holiday season is a time to reflect…and hopefully take a moment to slow down long enough to draw a breath, step back, and count the many blessings that fill my life.

I’m thankful for a loving husband—a man with whom a share a real-life romance filled with love and laughter, adventure and fun (I tell my husband he’s cheap entertainment). Tim supports and encourages my passion for sharing the written word. I’m so thankful God brought him into my life.

I’m thankful for my daughter, Danni, who has grown into a beautiful young woman. Danni illuminates my life with her loving, generous spirit. She’s friend to everyone, and has a special place in her heart for the elderly and the hurting. She is truly a blessing to me.

My friends, especially my precious writing friends, are a reason to give thanks. These wonderful people completely understand when I mention the ‘voices’ that speak to me while I’m writing. I love them dearly.

But, most of all, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, who has given all of this and more to me. What an amazing blessing to know His love and grace are never-ending.

So, as this holiday season begins, I wish you blessings and peace, dear friends. May you take a moment to draw a breath, step back, and count the many blessings that fill your life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Pear Tree Becomes A Legacy

Over 30 years have passed since my father transplanted a pear tree in the back yard. He was big on fruit trees, nurturing them and watching them flourish. Ten years after we moved from Hickory Valley, Tennessee, Dad drove 110 miles back just to dig up a fig bush we'd left behind. It now grows on the south side next to the house.

Today, both the fig bush and pear tree produce abundantly. Daddy lived long enough to taste the figs, but passed away before the pear tree produced. I remember him digging around it, fertilizing, and wondering aloud if it ever would bear fruit.

Over the years the fruit continues to increase. In the past month while visiting my mother, I've gathered three bags full of the delicious fruit. Mama has called in friends and neighbors to share in the bounty besides giving loads of pears to us kids. Still, innumerable pears hang on the tree and at least a hundred are scattered beneath it.

While gathering the pears, I contemplated on what Daddy would think if he knew what his efforts had wrought. What if he does know? What if God allows people to look down from heaven and see the fruit their life has produced in the lives of others?

I picked up my heavy sack and returned to the house to find Mama seated in the kitchen working on a Word-Find. She laid it aside as I heaved the sack up onto the table and asked, "Do you think Daddy ever considered he might be leaving a legacy behind when he planted the pear tree? I wonder what he'd say if he knew people come from miles around to gather pears."

She shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, but it seems the tree produces more fruit every year."

A gift that keeps on giving. Who can count the jars of preserves that have been canned from that one tree? I know my dad would be pleased to share his bounty with his small community. You see, he was a giving person.

This brought something else to contemplate. Does everyone leave a legacy? I knew the answer as soon as I asked myself the question. Yes. Whether we know it or not, something we say, or an act of kindness we show to another can become a legacy--changing the person's life. Who knows what results may someday emerge from those kind words or deeds?

My fifth-grade teacher did not live long enough to learn she'd planted a dream in my heart when she announced to our class, "One day Laurie will become an author."

Her words were planted in my heart and not forgotten. Even though I nurtured them through the years, (journaling and writing poetry) three decades passed before I acted on them.

My prayer is for the words I write to become my legacy. For this reason I must always write what God directs and inspires. My desire is for readers to be emotionally healed and blessed through my stories.

The highest compliment I've received? When a reader turns to me and says, "Thank you. Don't ever stop writing. You will never know how much your story helped me."